Medomsley abuse inquiry: Prosecutors praise victims of 'a savage and brutal regime' at youth detention centre

Medomsley Detention Centre
Medomsley Detention Centre

Prosecutors have praised the bravery of hundreds of complainants who came forward as part of Durham Constabulary's five-year investigation into abuse at a detention centre for young people from across the North East.

Five former prison officers have been convicted of offences relating to the ‘brutal’ physical abuse of young prisoners at the Medomsley Detention Centre in County Durham during the 1970s and 1980s.

The charges against them were brought as a result of Operation Seabrook, a large scale police investigation into non-recent abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre near Consett.

Before its closure in 1988, the centre housed young males between the ages of 17 and 21.

READ MORE: Five former officers at detention centre for young prisoners convicted of assaults and misconduct.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) presented the case over the course of three trials at Teesside Crown Court, the first of which began in September of last year.

READ MORE: Lead police officer calls for further victims to come forward
For legal reasons, the results of the earlier proceedings could not be reported upon until today.

Heather Wilkinson, from CPS North East, said: “The men convicted over the course of these trials each played a part in creating a savage and brutal regime at Medomsley Detention Centre. Under their watch, young detainees were subject to physical abuse at the hands of the very men who had been charged with their care.

“I would like to praise the bravery of all of those complainants who came forward, despite their experiences, to provide Durham Police with evidence over the course of their five-year investigation. The scale of that investigation has created its own challenges, generating an unprecedented amount of evidential material. The CPS and police have worked closely to review this material, ensuring confidence in the disclosure process and enabling us to present the strongest evidence over the course of these trials.

“The charges we have taken forward against these men represent some of the most serious offending that took place at Medomsley Detention Centre. Although not all complaints could ultimately be prosecuted, it is highly unlikely that the current convictions could have been secured without the significant weight of evidence provided to investigators. I sincerely hope that every complainant can take a measure of comfort from knowing that their contributions have finally helped to deliver justice against those who abused them over three decades ago.”